Trends in Polish online fashion
There is a growing trend among popular brands to start their own online shops or establish cooperation with Strefa Marek, offered through Allegro. Numerous websites will soon be released that aggregate products from different brands or offer unique and personalisable products. Find out what Mateusz Gordon, Gemius's e-commerce expert, has to say about the upcoming trends in fashion.
Analysing the online clothing market, we should firstly take a closer look at Allegro. This online sales platform has a 40 percent share of the fashion market in the B2C sector. Although Allegro might be associated with an auction site where mainly used items are sold, more than 85 percent of the goods sold on this platform in the fashion category are actually new.
Fashion on Allegro
The number of fashion brands that consider Allegro a valuable sales channel is growing. As a result, these brands have started offering their products in the so-called Strefa Marek. Brand labels such as Adidas, Simple, or Bytom can all be found there. It is worth mentioning that Allegro has been developing the functionalities and features that are required to manage the sales of fashion products, i.e. the mobile channel, or free-of-charge returns with the Allegro Paczkomaty Inpost service. The fact that the biggest operator is making these changes shows that fashion constitutes a crucial product category, which is currently visited by one third of Allegro users.
German e-shops among the front-runners
The rapid development of the Polish e-commerce clothing business has been affected by the entry of foreign companies, such as German Zalando, into the Polish market. Zalando now holds a lead position among e-shops offering fashion products, with every tenth web user visiting the site each month. Although its products are dispatched directly from Germany, Zalando has made the policy of free-of-charge returns popular. This is one of the fundamental marketing messages set by the company.
The second position among fashion e-shops belongs to Bonprix – the Polish branch of the German mail-order sales platform which specialises in catalogue sales. Among the top ten most popular online shops that stock clothing is one more company with German roots, namely Deichmann. The others are Polish services, among which Answear takes the lead.
E-shop – proprietary sales channel
The Polish player LPP – part of the Reserved service – is in the lead position of all single-brand fashion e-services (those focussing on the sales of just a single brand). Almost 4 percent of web users visit the service every month. Such global brands as Zara or Timberland, for instance, cannot reach the level of 2 percent of their outreach. This is a result of the significant fragmentation of the market. Multi-brand stores can in fact build their outreach most easily. However, they compete with one another over the best customer service, generating considerable logistic costs (mainly warehouse storage and returns management).
The H&M brand seems to have taken a vehement approach to launching its online shop, promoting it intensively among the clients of its regular retail stores. Nevertheless, it still has a lot to do, especially in terms of functionalities and online marketing. I suggest copying the best practices from the market leaders as soon as possible.
Upcoming trends in online fashion sales
A personal sales channel is currently a must-have in the fashion category. We can therefore expect the launch of new shops representing well-known offline brands. Based on the structure of Polish e-commerce and its clear division between Allegro and the others, we can assume that various companies will soon be willing to work with the Allegro sales platform and supply its Strefa Marek with their goods (whether using it as a complementary channel or an alternative to their own services).
The so-called offer aggregators – services which provide inspiration – will also develop swiftly in the near future. Combining service functionality with an e-shop seems a natural step for some of them, whereas others will stick to the paid solution of redirecting users to online shops.
Another trend entails the further development of small and highly specialised services, which often offer products that are unique or personalisable. These types of services should plan strategies of global reach. They should have an English version of their website from the very beginning and model their business in such a manner as to keep the profit margin, even in the case of high logistic costs due to the fragmented nature of international transactions management.